Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Sep 2009 14:01 UTC
Legal In France, the GPL has scored yet another major win in court. What makes this infringements case special is that it was filed not by the developers of the infringed-upon code, but by users, demonstrating that they, too, can successfully enforce the GPL. Since I noted on a few threads here on OSNews that a lot of people still fail to grasp the difference between an open source license and an EULA, I figured I'd take this opportunity to explain the difference one more time - using hand-crafted diagrams!
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Comment by lurch_mojoff
by lurch_mojoff on Fri 25th Sep 2009 15:25 UTC
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Since I was pretty much the only one arguing this last time, Thom, I guess this post is mainly meant for me. Therefore I'd like to respond. But I've seen that people, especially around here, are bent on believing that EULAs are inherently unfair, especially since it comes with the added bonus to prove that Apple are "teh evil", and I strongly suspect that this conversation will quickly devolve into a petty quibble over semantics. Because of that I don't think there is any argument, no matter how well reasoned or well supported, that will persuade you that you're wrong, so I'll just say these three things and shut the f--k up.

My argument was, and still is, that source code licenses and software licenses are similar in that both are implicit unilateral contracts - in US legal parlance implied-in-fact contracts. The legality of such contracts in and of themselves has never been under question. Certain terms in them have been under question, usually because they contradict the law, but never the concept of unilateral contracts itself. The reason I brought this similarity up is that very many people in one breath argue that EULAs are illegal, or at least void, because they haven't signed anything and it the next they are upset that someone has failed to uphold the terms of a source code license. I just don't like people intentionally playing oblivious to such similarities, simply because it fits their worldview better.

Also, please cut the "giving rights - taking rights" crap. Under "default copyright" law the only party that has any right over a piece of software, including the right to merely use the software, is the copyright holder. With source code licenses, the copyright holder gives others the right to use the source code, given they agree with certain terms. With software licenses the copyright holder gives others the right to use the software, given they agree with certain terms. No difference whatsoever.

And last - Thom, you are not a lawyer, please stop playing one on TV. These pseudo-authoritative blog posts do not help clarifying the issue, as I think you want to believe, they just fuel the flamewars. Go find a real, red blooded, living, breathing lawyer over there in the Netherlands and ask them about the issue - about the legality of unilateral contracts, about the legality of EULAs in general, about the legality of Apple's particular software license. See what someone competent to comment on the mater thinks. Maybe even share your findings with all of us - that would be fun. And if you still think EULAs are bunk afterwards, feel free to become the hero of teh Interwebtubes by actually challenging them in a real court and invalidating them once and for all, for the benefit of all of us.

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